Archive for April, 2009

I am so excited about the news that The Transparency in Maternity Care Project: The Birth Survey results are now available to everyone! You can search this dynamic database for information on all the providers (OB, CNM, LM, Family Practice) and birth locations specific for your area! You can read how women who have given birth in the past three years at these locations and with these providers rate their satisfaction in many categories! And you too, can rate your provider or birth location as well, sharing the information on your own personal experience. This is just so powerful, that I am giddy with excitement! Consumer information and ratings on maternity care by provider and location is a long time coming. Now, women and their families expecting a baby can make provider and facility selections based on knowledge and information that is current and reported by other consumers with recent experience with those providers and facilities! resultssurveyreport1

Information available includes:

The consumer reviews just launched include:

– Overall ratings and recommendations for birth facilities and care providers
– A seven-item set of questions on providers’ interpersonal and communication skills
– Facility intervention rates
– Information on finding good care.
– A national average of ratings is also displayed to provide comparison with individual ratings.

If you looking for a provider or birth location go here, and click on connect to check out the survey results.

And if you have given birth in the past three years, take a few minutes to share your experience here, by clicking on the share link, so that others may benefit from your recent birth experience. link_pages_survey

I think this is really big, and maybe the beginning of change, women sharing information so that others can make informed choice! A huge thanks have to go out to The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) for making this possible. Check out their fantastic website just jam packed with important information for expectant families!


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The Waiting Game

Being a birth doula involves waiting. Waiting for babies! Babies who come in their own sweet time! Babies who have their own secret, internal clock that we mere mortals can only hope to understand! Here I sit. On call! I am usually on call. I am on call for most of the year, probably 48 out of 52 weeks. What that means is that at any time of day, or night, I can expect a phone call from a client telling me she needs me. Or telling me she doesn’t need me, but just wants to update me. Come now. Come later. What that means is that my phone is always on and always close. What that means is that I need to always be sure to get enough sleep, go to bed at a decent time, so that I can be ready for a 1 AM phone call. I am waiting now. A woman will be asking me to join her soon! This I know, as she is now admitted to a local hospital for an induction after spontaneous rupture of membranes in the pre-dawn hours of yesterday! And no labor, as of yet, so a push to get things rolling. Hopefully, a gentle push. hourglass1

Since the news of yesterday’s events, I have been on “high alert.” High alert, I suppose is more alert than normal, of which I already am always on alert. Is that possible? With every action, with every errand, with every event of my day, I calculate, “What do I need to do, in case I get the call NOW!” Sometimes, this can be exhausting. Very exhausting. Emotionally draining. For the doula and also for her family. Thankfully, I have been doing this for more than 6 years, and my family rolls with the punches well. But, the waiting doesn’t get easier. Not for me, not for the pregnant mama and her family, and not for my own family. Yet, the thrill of the call, the rush to join a laboring woman, the chance to help and witness women trust in their bodies and their babies, to participate in that age old labor dance, that brings a new baby earthside! There is nothing like it! Nothing! And I suppose, that is why many birth professionals do it. Over and Over!

And still I wait. Restless, unable to complete anything, drifting from task to task, unable to really focus, while I wait. So many things still undone, yet I can accomplish almost nothing. Should I go for a walk on this lovely day? Make a yummy casserole for my family to eat this evening, as surely I will be gone? Will I??? Will I be gone? Rest? Nap, in case tonight is a night of no sleep?? Sometimes denial is a good state of mind. Be ready, really ready and then forget about it! Just forget about it! That works for a while, but now as I sit, and wait, I reassure myself that this baby will come like all the others, in its own sweet time! I remind myself of this a million times! And so, it goes. Wait with me, and help me by sharing your own stories of waiting, for babies, for something else? What was your experience like?

As for me, I will go and put together a new, tasty mac and cheese casserole from the Splendid Table’s newest cookbook! And leave it in the fridge, as I suspect my family will be enjoying it this evening without me. Or will they?

Share your stories of waiting for babies with us! Post a comment!

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I was just reading the current edition of the Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington’s newsletter and was thrilled to read about a great breastfeeding resource for childbirth educators, doulas and lactation consultants and couldn’t wait to share! Imagine, all the breastfeeding resources, research, tips, suggestions, care practices and breastfeeding links you could ever want, conveniently located on your iPhone or smart phone! breasfeeding_symbol

The Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition has developed and provided for free, an iPhone or Palm OS application called Breastfeeding Management, a reference for supporting breastfeeding mothers! Did I mention this was free! What a bounty of information! I have already installed it on my iPhone and am amazed at the wealth of resources I now have handy for those postpartum visits with new moms! Go check it out, install it yourself and see how helpful it can be. I always say that I think breastfeeding is the next big challenge after birth, and women can use all the support and help they can to make sure the breastfeeding relationship starts out strong and stays that way! Do your part to help with this handy tool right in your pocket!

And while you are at it, did you know that there is an international symbol for breastfeeding that states “Breastfeeding welcomed here!” The purpose of an international symbol for breastfeeding is to increase public awareness of breastfeeding, to provide an alternative to the use of a baby bottle image to designate baby friendly areas in public, and to mark breastfeeding friendly facilities. The winning image was designed by Matt Daigle of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Matt is a stay-at-home dad, freelance graphic designer, and cartoonist. Matt and his wife Kay are the parents of one-year-old son Hayden.

The breastfeeding symbol is available copyright free. Matt has signed it over to the Public Domain. You can download a variety of formats of the International Breastfeeding Symbol here. Think about downloading it and posting it on your website, printing it out and hanging it in your classroom, on your car bumper, in your clinic or office, the storefront window of your business, anywhere you feel it is important to say “Breastfeeding Moms Rock!”

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